Category Archives: Essay

Quick Update

I seem to to use all my posts to apologise for not posting much don’t I?

Not much to say at the moment. My rib is still broken and I’m struggling to get anything done. Yes, the rib I cracked on the 7th of July, is still broken. Doctors can’t do anything about it so I just have to languish until it sorts itself out.

Apparently the second half of the current Doctor Who season starts next week (27th of August). I’m reserving judgment. So far I’ve been disappointed with this season. I have no problem with the Eleventh Doctor, I wasn’t happy when I saw the pre-production shots, and there’s something about Matt Smith IRL that makes me twitch, but he makes an excellent madcap Doctor. And he doesn’t spit all the time which was getting a bit off putting with Ten by the end. I’m not all that bothered about Rory or Amy, their characters aren’t that interesting but at least they aren’t Donna. I adore River, I can’t wait to see where they go with her story.

And yet… the episodes themselves haven’t been up to the usual quality. With the exception of the Neil Gaiman episode, which was frankly one of the best episodes since Blink. It was pure genius- funny, clever, heartbreaking, it had everything.

“Biting’s excellent! It’s like kissing, but there’s a winner.”

But the pirate ship episode? That didn’t feel phoned in, it felt carrier-pigeoned in. “We saw Pirates of the Caribbean and thought ‘We’ll have some of that!’ but with a budget of 50p!” I have a lot of the tie-in fiction books, they’re good for mindless reading, but I didn’t expect the actual episodes to be on a par with them. It might improve though, I mean Donna went away eventually (though we never did get to see her head explode, I’d have paid good money for that) and no amount of good plots could make her tolerable. Hopefully The Grand Moff will pull something exciting out of the bag in the second half of the season to make up for the dross.

In the meantime I’ve been listening to Chameleon Circuit’s second album Still Got Legs on repeat for the last couple of weeks. It’s excellent, exactly the kind of upbeat, geeky, funny music I needed right now. If you like Doctor Who and rock then you should enjoy this. Apparently the combination of the two is called trock. So far trock is much less disturbing than wrock (Harry Potter themed music). This is my favorite track (I do love The Mister Master) –

Or maybe it’s this one-

I really should get their first album. Hmmmmm.

Join me at: SparkPeople.com

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Filed under Essay, Music, PSA, TV

On Gary Numan

Hmmmmmm according the search facility and my tags I haven’t talked about Gary Numan here before. That seems a very strange oversight on my part considering the lengths I’ve gone to to talk about Abney Park. But then Numan’s music has been in my life for longer than AP and I’ve been working on that book project for the last few months, so I guess it makes some sense.

Even though Gary Numan started releasing music about 4 years before I was born, I wasn’t raised on that kind of music. I was raised on Queen, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf and Jeff Wayne, rock music that’s very different to Numan’s original electronic style. I suspect that, by the time I became aware of music in general, he was on the downturn of that part of his career.

I remember the 1996 Carling advert that used Cars as the music, despite the fact that I was 13 at the time (and would never drink Carling) the advert stayed with me. But that was back in the day when you couldn’t just search the internet for an advert for a song (well technically you could but you know what I mean). Then I saw the BBC TV series I Love The ’70s/’80s/’90s , I think they talked about Gary Numan at the end of the ’70s series. Again I was impressed with the music but I was into Cradle of Filth and Nick Cave at the time and 70s/80s electronica didn’t fit with that. Though I did decide that Gemma Numan was my hero for marrying her teen idol (yes I was (am) one of those music fans).

Then I went to The Carling Leeds and Reading Festival in 2001 (Carling again) for the experience. Continue reading

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Filed under Essay, Music, Review

A Better 30 Day Blog Challenge?

Picture is unrelated :pAs you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been posting much content here recently. Mostly* that’s because I’ve been working hard on a number of projects that I can’t share publicly yet. I’ll hopefully have a few previews of my work from the Abney Park “Airship Pirates” project to share with you over the next few days, but my current project isn’t going live to the world until Christmas. So I’ve been looking for other content to keep this site going until my next project. Somehow I don’t think it can survive on Wordless Wednesdays alone!

After the relative success of the Thirty Days of Books I’ve been looking for something else to inspire me… and so far I’m not find anything especially inspirational. The majority of the lists I’ve seen have gotten a bit twee- “Describe your perfect first date”; or a bit repetitive “post a photo of you a year ago/5 years ago/10 years ago”; or a bit too girly “describe what’s in your handbag/your skin care routine”; or a bit too personal for a public blog “worst personal habit/time you tried to kill yourself”.

I think the types of questions that appear over and over would be an interesting subject for a thesis into the personality profile of the majority of internet users but not something that’s likely to make me hugely excited about blogging. Then I remembered The Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge, the prompts for which seem to have been deleted from Facebook 😦 I really enjoyed completing that challenge because the strangeness of the prompts actually made you think about your choices, it wasn’t just a case of giving a lame answer on autopilot. You can usually name your favorite song with ease, but can you name your favorite song for defenestrating a TV with as much ease?

Sadly I haven’t been able to find a general blogging list of that type… I guess I’m going to have to write my own instead 😀

*Partly because I’ve cracked a rib. Whilst cleaning. Whoops.

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Good News Everyone!

I bet you read that in Professor Farnsworth’s voice. If you didn’t, you need to watch more TV. If you’re still reading in his voice, you need to watch less TV. Nah, not really, no such thing as too much Futurama. Anyway, to business….

The new issue of Irregular Magazine is here!!! Hoorah! This issue, entitled BEASTS OF WAR, is packed full of RPG and wargaming articles, painting tutorials, gorgeous art and a plethora of reviews (one of which is by yours truly).

Download the new issue here!

In terms of art, I recently completed an album cover and I’m now working on contributions for a steampunk RPG project. I can’t say much just yet, but I’ll be posting more when I can.

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Filed under Art, Books, Essay, Magazine, Media, Review

Bookshops – Bricks&Mortar Vs Online Shopping

Du Has Helpfully Filed Herself Under C for CatA great man once said-

“A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

And that is absolutely true. A good bookshop should contain significantly more books than you could ever imagine it containing, and it should distort time and space in such away that ten minutes of browsing turning into three hours and a budget of £10 should mysteriously turn into £70 worth of purchases.

My person heaven of book shopping is Fables Book Shop in the village of St Marychurch near Torquay. If you ever happen to be in the area I strongly recommend it. It’s tiny, not just compared to monsters like Waterstones and Borders (RIP) but tiny compared to the average living room. However it’s literally packed to the rafters with books, and you always get the impression that the owners have read every one of them before adding them to their stock list. It’s the kind of store where every shelf has multiple rows of books, stacks of books, tottering piles of books! I found a gorgeous hardback set of The Larklight Series by Philip Reeve hidden away the first time I visited and I’ve made a point of going back every time we’re in the area ever since. And there in lies the problem- this store is about as far away as its possible to be from my home town and still be in England. On a good day its a 6 hour drive.

So what do we have closer to home?

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Filed under Books, Coffee, Essay, Steampunk, Stores

Currently Reading, Or 5 Books You Need To Devour

I read. A lot. Constantly in fact. I’m more than a little picky in my tastes. I don’t generally read women’s fiction or chick lit, and I rarely read straight contemporary fiction. I’m the kind of person who walks straight through the fiction section to that lovely little corner of the book store labeled “Sci-Fi and Fantasy”, from that haven of printed glory I’ll read more or less anything- space opera, steampunk, alternate history, sword&sorcery, time travel, dragons, werewolves, zombies, seamonsters… I’ll even venture into the vampire section, though I draw the line at (and through) Stephanie Meyers and I swear I only read Charlaine Harris as the equivalent of reading the funny pages. That isn’t to say that I don’t read the classics, I fact my favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre, but usually I’ve have to hear a lot of good things about a non-scifi book before I’ll spend my hard earned cash on it. Even then I might not finish it, Catch 22 has been serving as a door stop for a few years now. So beware, my tastes may not be yours, but I think the following will appeal to a lot of different people on a variety of levels.

Onwards to the Librarium…

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Filed under Books, Essay, Horror, Media, Review, Steampunk

There’s A Big Wide World Out There, Lets Live In It

For a while now I’ve thought that my public blog has been low on content, and whilst I feel its important to tell you when I publish something new, I should give you other, more interesting, reasons to read it. As such I’m going to try to write things more often. Please note, these are just my own thoughts and you’re always free to disagree with me. Inspired by this post by DJ Mouse of Clockwork Cabaret I’ve found myself thinking about the future of Steampunk lately.

There tends to be a habit in a lot of subcultures for people to want to draw a line in the sand and say “everything on this side is ours, everything over there isn’t and we don’t want any of it coming over here”. People become attached to their own tastes and they want their subculture to reflect that. This is especially the case when people are new to a subculture, or they’ve been in it for a long time. Either they want to fit in or they want to protect what they’ve built from upstarts and poseurs. But wait, there’s more after the jump

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Filed under Essay, Media, Steampunk